Molly Barth, a founding member of Eighth Blackbird and its flutist until 2006, returns to the flock this month. She will perform in a number of concerts with the ‘Birds from now until April. When we caught up with Molly, she was at home in Nashville, Tennessee, where she teaches at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music.
8BB: For those who don’t know, what have you been up to since you left Eighth Blackbird?
MB: My husband and I moved from Chicago to Oregon so that he could pursue career opportunities in viticulture. Everyone thought we were crazy for leaving our wonderful jobs in Chicago, with little to no immediate job security in Oregon! In addition to performing with the Oregon Symphony, I taught at Willamette University for two years and the University of Oregon for a decade before moving to Nashville in 2018 to assume my current position at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University.
8BB: How do you find Nashville?
MB: It’s a great city that presents new opportunities for my husband’s career as well as for my career. The Blair School of Music is small, and I am really happy with the opportunities it affords me to concentrate on teaching at the undergraduate level; the student body is inquisitive and intellectual and fabulous!
8BB: Is any of 8BB’s current repertoire familiar to you?
MB: No, this repertoire is all new to me. I am loving the process of learning the works of these young and emerging composers.
8BB: And what about returning to the ensemble; how does it feel?
MB: I am thrilled to have this opportunity to return to these spring performances with Eighth Blackbird. The rehearsal process remains largely the same. I appreciate this concentrated way of approaching the music together; the collective level of preparation and rigor during the rehearsals is invigorating.
8BB: What other projects are you working on these days?
MB: In 2018, I released my first solo album on the Albany label. It’s called Vento Appassionato, and happily, it received excellent reviews. I also continue to play with Duo Damiana, the flute-guitar duo I founded with Dieter Hennings, and the Zohn Collective, a contemporary music collective of nine core members founded in 2017. The Zohn Collective was organized in part by Tim Weiss, the same person who assembled the members of Eighth Blackbird together in 1996!
8BB: Welcome back Molly! Looking forward to performing with you this winter and spring!
Gettysburg College (February 14)
National Gallery of Art (February 16)
Portland State University (March 12)
Oregon Music Festival (March 14)
Ogden Symphony Ballet (April 22)
Boise Chamber Music Series (April 24)